Steve Earle: Just an American Boy (2003)
Critic Reviews for Steve Earle: Just an American Boy
Decidedly low-tech and not always particularly coherent or cohesive.
While the film's coziness toward its subject is ultimately frustrating, it does provide a welcome portrait of one of the music industry's genuine and rare iconoclasts.
Even for a big fan like me, parts of this documentary (especially musical performances) just go on too long.
Earle's song introductions, like those of his mentors Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, are as meaty, pointed, and touching as the tunes themselves, and his spoken words -- full of humor and humanity -- are the heart of the film.
A mediocre music documentary.
A crude but stirring video documentary.
Audience Reviews for Steve Earle: Just an American Boy
Not overly ambitious in scope this film doesn't try to be definitive in any way but it does give a glimpse at Steve Earle during the Jerusalem tour and addressing the controversy over his ballad to John Walker Lindhn, 'John Walkers Blues. We also get to see Steve on stage and on the road with his son who has become an acclaimed artist in his own right. The video of the performances isn't exactly quality but it does include a powerful rendition of 'Billy Austin, Steve's anti death penalty song. More of a snapshot than a chronicle but enjoyable enough.
I couldn't bear giving this less than 3 stars just because it is Steve Earle, and the guy's work has never been about "smooth and polished," but always about emotional intensity, uncompromising artistic integrity and thought provoking lyrics. That comes through here to some degree, but not much. I agree with James Paul, "good content cannot out-weigh a bad sound mix, poor editing and video effects that range from middling to terrible."
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